How To Organize Your Pantry On A Budget: Dollar Tree DIY

I’ll be the first to admit that organization doesn’t come naturally to me.  My natural tendency is to leave things a bit messy and chaotic.  I definitely don’t WANT that to be the case and am making an effort to get organized and stay that way.

We went from having a one bedroom apartment on the beach in New York to a four bedroom house with a full basement in Kentucky.  I thought it would take us YEARS to even fill the house with furniture but we managed to accumulate a lot of stuff very quickly.

My Home Organization Inspiration:  The Home Edit

I’m obsessed with following organizers on Instagram, especially The Home Edit, and they have inspired me to attempt to DIY organize my entire house using their principles.  Joanna and Clea, owners of The Home Edit, recently released their first book titled The Home Edit, which I purchased.

I read the book in one sitting and now I plan to use the lessons they teach to tackle my home’s organization one space at a time.

Khloe Kardashian's Pantry Organized By The Home Edit
Khloe Kardashian’s Pantry Organized By The Home Edit | Photo Credit:

If you’d like to purchase the book to follow along with me throughout this series, you can get it by clicking here.

Interestingly enough, the book recommends that you DON’T start your organizing with your pantry as it’s one of the more difficult areas to tackle, but I desperately wanted to start there because I knew it needed a lot of work AND I’d watched enough of their makeovers that I felt confident that I could handle it.

Organizational Supplies are EXPENSIVE

What I have discovered since deciding I want to reorganize my entire house is that all of the containers, bins, and other supplies needed to organize are EXPENSIVE!!!  I love me some Container Store, but I did the math and the bins I needed for my pantry alone would cost $500 there.

By the time I organize my entire house, I’d have thousands of dollars invested in containers.  I knew there had to be a frugal way to tackle this project, and I quickly started looking at less expensive options.  I decided to go ALL the way to the extreme on the frugality spectrum and only use products from the Dollar Tree to organize my pantry.

Spoiler alert:  I was able to stick to my Dollar Tree only plan and spend $25 for everything I needed to complete the project!

Dollar Tree Pantry Organization - $25 To Organize My Pantry

There ARE a few items that I would like to add from Container Store, but I wanted to prove that we could all do this project even if we’re on a Dollar Tree budget.

Wish List Items From The Container Store

In case you’re interested in splurging on a few items, here is a list of the items I would like to have from Container Store in the future, ranked in order of how helpful I think they’d be.

  1. Expand-A-Shelf “Canned Good Risers”
  2. Lazy Susans
  3. Bin Labels
  4. Cereal Dispensers
  5. Foil/Plastic Baggie Organizer

My Game Plan For Organizing My Pantry On A Budget

My plan of attack was pretty straight forward:

  1. Remove everything from the pantry
  2. Discard anything that is expired or no longer needed
  3. Sort everything into categories
  4. Estimate the number of bins/containers I needed
  5. Visit SEVERAL Dollar Tree stores scoping out the options available.  I really wanted white bins a la Khloe Kardashian but I could only find colorful bins at my local stores.
  6. Put all remaining items in bins
  7. Label all bins
  8. Put them back into the pantry in a way that makes sense (items I don’t use frequently on top shelves, things I use often at eye level, etc.)

My Pantry:  The Before

Before Picture - Pantry - Prior to Being Organized
Unfortunately, my before picture was lost on my memory card so I could only use a screenshot from my YouTube video… Sorry! This is the best I could do.

I’ll be honest… I’m a little embarrassed to even show you the before picture of my pantry.  I decided not to tidy it up at all and show you the real deal.  This was even a little extra unorganized compared to usual.  We had just gotten back from vacation when I started this project and things were a bit chaotic.

As you can see, there’s really no rhyme or reason to the way things were stored.  I would often find myself buying things I already had and allowing things to go bad before using them because I had no idea they were there.

What I Bought From Dollar Tree To Organize My Pantry

Dollar Tree Pantry Organization - $25 To Organize My Pantry

  1. Tags:  The Home Edit is known for utilizing beautiful labels on pantries.  I have decent handwriting so I was fine to create my own.  The Dollar Tree had pretty limited options for labels and the shape of my plastic bins didn’t allow for the stickers which were plentiful.  I decided to go with tags that can be attached with string.  These definitely aren’t the most durable option but the pack has enough that I can replace them whenever needed.  At $1.00 for the entire pack, I’m fine with them not being durable. At some point, I likely will upgrade to the bin labels I mentioned above from Container Store.
  2. Plastic Bins/Baskets (Two Types): I bought two different types of bins.  They were both blue and rectangular, but one is taller and narrow and the other is shorter and wider.  I used a combination of the two depending on the shapes of the items I was storing.
  3. Plastic Containers With Lids: I love how professional organizers use a variety of containers and decant items like pasta, nuts, dried fruit, etc.  I was pleased to find similar containers with lids; however, during the process of actually organizing the pantry I ended up using way fewer of these than expected.  I just tossed the boxes and containers of my products into the corresponding bins for ease.

My Pantry:  The After

While I’m still no professional organizer, I’m very pleased with the way my pantry turned out – especially given how budget friendly all the items I used are.  I am so thrilled that I didn’t let the cost of expensive products hold me back from tackling this project.  There’s NO way I’ll be spending hundreds of dollars per area of my house, and I’m sure I’ll be making many more trips to the Dollar Tree in the coming months as I tackle more projects.

I’ll be sure to keep you updated if and when I do splurge on a few of the organizational products I think are worth the extra cost.

My Final Thoughts On My New Pantry – Is It Sustainable?

A couple of weeks have passed from the time I organized the pantry to now as I write this post.  I’m excited to share that we have maintained the current organization 100%.  My husband, Kevin, was a bit scared he’d put things in the wrong spot and make me angry (lol) but with the labeling, it’s been extremely easy for us to put things back where they go with little thought.

The added bonus is that making a grocery list is SO much easier now that I can actually see what we already have and what we need to replace. Not only did I save $475 on the containers by shopping at the Dollar Tree, I know we’ll save a fortune on groceries too since we won’t be wasting as much.

The Plus Life Blog $25 Dollar Tree Pantry Organization
I think the look on my face while filming my Pantry Organization YouTube Video fully expresses my excitement! Haha.

Want to Watch The Entire Process of Organizing My Pantry?

Watch the full process of organizing the pantry on my YouTube channel below:

I’d love to hear from you… what area do you think I should organize next? I’m thinking about either my cleaning products, my storage containers or my makeup and beauty products.  Let me know your preference in the comments!

Disclosure:  Links included in this post are affiliate links.  I will receive a small commission if you purchase items using these links at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting my blog by using these links when purchasing items I recommend.

3 thoughts on “How To Organize Your Pantry On A Budget: Dollar Tree DIY

  1. This was awesome! I love a good before and after! I need to go organize something now! 😁

    1. You will HAVE to send me pics if you do it! Would love to see your before/after too!

  2. I love the Dollar Store. Like you, I am very frugal. I need to organize my medicine cabinet next. It is hard to tackle.

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